VIDEO: Jolen's life of crime ...then rhyme

FROM smuggling drugs out of Mexico to writing poetry in a Pudsey cottage.

Welcome to the wild world of grandmother Jolen Whitworth who has just had a book published about her incredible life.

The 47-year-old has drawn on experiences to pen a series of poems in the book Every Girl Has Her Limits.

She told the YEP: "This book is a collection of poetry. It's a journey from a dark place to a very light place. "

Born in Chicago, Jolen escaped a troubled childhood by taking a bus to Texas at the age of 16. There she worked in a bar while earning extra cash by running drugs through the Mexico–United States border.

"My mother was very controlling and unpleasant; I had a difficult time. I grew up in a community that was very bigoted, it was very unfriendly towards anyone who was black or homosexual. I took a bus to Texas when I was 16 as I had friends who moved there and we all moved in together.

"Several of them were involved in bringing marijuana across the border from Mexico. That went on for about a year and a half before it just got too much for me. I needed to do something different as I didn't want to wind up dead or in prison."

Jolen says her worst addiction was to cocaine.

"That was for 10 years. I sold cocaine to support my habit," she admits.

Life began to settle when Jolen got married and had two daughters Raina now aged 22, and Seajaye, 21.

"I started to settle down and did the baking for schools and all that stuff. Then I started to try and lead an upstanding life. I got divorced and that's when I really started writing.

Jolen was brought to Pudsey after finding love with her husband James – an English poet who at 27 is 20 years her junior. The couple met three years ago after she read some of his poetry online. After three months of emailing, they finally met when James flew to the US and it was love at first sight.

The couple have a double celebration this month when they have their first wedding anniversary as well as getting Jolen's first book published.

Jolen's daughters and four-year-old grandchild Bailey all live in the States. The couple may return to live there in the future but for the moment, Jolen's enjoying Pudsey.

"It is very different here and I had never been before. I love the culture and the history and I love the people – they're a lot more open minded!"

Every Girl Has Her Limits by Jolen Whitworth is available in bookshops now.

Green light for upmarket Leeds student flats